Looks like Max Mosley decided to ignore Sir Jackie Stewart and to continue pushing for more cost cuts instead. The FIA president sent letter to FOTA, addressed to Dear Luca (di Montezemolo, FOTA chairman). I do not really know what to make out of it. The letter is generally written in very cooperative manner and even appears to show some signs that Mosley may actually have F1 fans in mind. But there are also some strong statements embeded within the text. Like for example this one on cost saving:
The fact of having recently invested in an expensive facility is not an argument for retaining it.
He goes on listing his fresh and recycled ideas on further cost saving in F1 from limiting the engine revs to 17,000 rpm, standard gearboxes and underbody, standard or frozen parts of chassis, budget caps for the teams. He even makes it clear that “No team is obliged to fit KERS. It is also open to the teams to agree on a standard system or, indeed, to agree not to fit it at all.” – KERS, Mosley’s baby … Shocking … Yes, he goes on talking about the direction the development of KERS for F1 should take, but what happened to that strong talk against the teams that raised their doubts about the whole KERS project ?
But for me the most interesting part came at the end of the letter:
The FIA itself would not be financially disadvantaged by a collapse of Formula One, but it would suffer in other ways. And, in any event, we believe we have a duty to do whatever is necessary to preserve the Championship for the competitors, the commercial rights holder and motor sport generally. We are therefore prepared to act radically. We hope that, notwithstanding the changes which must now be made, all teams which are still in business in 2010 will enter. But as already stated, we will be ready to recognise an independent series should some teams prefer to go their own way.
What exactly is the message he is sending to the teams here ?
Later this very same day came David Richards at the Autosport International Show ruling himself out of the purchase of the Honda F1 Team. Sounds like completely different story but reading his reasons feels almost like reading something written by Mosley:
“The cost-cutting process that has been put in place has not yet seen its full benefit, and I don’t think it will be until 2010 that you will see those issues roll out properly. The teams have still got a burden of overhead that is unsustainable. So consequently, with the window of time for entry, I just question whether it is right at the moment.
I think there are still many people in F1 (for whom) reality has not yet sunk in about just how bad the situation is out there in the world – in business, commerce and everyone’s way of life at the moment.
If Formula One does not reconnect itself with its fan base and with the man in the street, and bring itself down to earth, I fear for its future. I know some people at the top end of the sport are addressing that and are well aware of that…It is a bitter medicine that is required at the moment but it has to be done.”
and on the cost saving in F1:
“I would regard those as modest inroads if I am honest with you. When you make changes to thing, and you have to make a radical shift to get back to a sustainable level, you make that one-hit, one cut very quickly to get it done and then move forward from that point. You don’t do it by a series of 1000 cuts. If I was involved I would be pushed hard for a lot deeper cuts a lot quicker.”
What a contrast when you think about Nick Fry’s claims that Honda is choosing from a dozen of parties interested in taking over the team …
Photo: Red Bull/GEPA